Prevention needs to be a priority
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Over one-quarter of the total health burden in Australia is estimated to be due to five key modifiable lifestyle-related risk factors: tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, low fruit and vegetable intake, high body mass, and physical inactivity (Begg et al 2007). Internationally, governments are grasping the overwhelming importance of prioritising prevention and, although Australian data are used as examples in this Editorial, the issues and principles to rectify them are relevant to most countries. In Australia a national preventive health agency (ANPHA) has recently been established. The purpose of the ANPHA is to promote effective primary prevention by contributing to policy and practice through the better use of evidence and collaboration. The ANPHA ‘Knowledge Hub’ will provide links to online resources to assist physiotherapists to promote prevention to their clients, while the US Department of Health and Human Services provides tips for primary care professionals to raise prevention issues with their clients. National authorities are providing online resources aimed at the community to promote prevention. Physiotherapists have traditionally been enthusiastic advocates of healthy lifestyles and the new focus on prevention in Australia and internationally creates a window of opportunity for physiotherapy to renew efforts to improve the nation’s health through prevention.
Copyright © 2012 Australian Physiotherapy Association
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